Thyroid Gland

What is Thyroid Gland?

Thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system which is a system of glands. It produces hormones into the blood so that hormone reaches each cell of the body. Figure on right side showing thyroid gland anatomy.

Thyroid Gland Location

It is 2 inch in size and consists of two lobs i.e. right and left. Each lies on either side of the wind pipe and is present in front of your neck just below Adam’s apple.

Thyroid Gland

Thyroid Gland Hormones

This gland makes two hormones and uses iodine from food that we eat to make those hormones. It produces, stores and release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones are 

  • Triiodothyronine T3
  • Thyroxine T4

T3 and T4 are tyrosine based hormones and these are primarily responsible for regulation of metabolism. It’s very important to maintain the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones levels. Two glands in the brain, the pituitary and hypothalamus communicate with each other to maintain T3 and T4 level. Hypothalamus is part of the brain and produces TSH releasing hormone (TRH) which tells pituitary gland to release Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). In this way, it tells gland to produce more or less T3 and T4 hormones. When T3 and T4 hormones level are low in the blood pituitary gland produces more TSH to tell gland to produce more T3 and T4. When T3 and T4 hormones level are high in the blood pituitary gland produces low TSH to tell thyroid gland to produce slow T3 and T4.

thyroid system in body

Thyroid Gland Function and Need

The function of thyroid hormone is to act nearly on every cell of the body. Thyroid gland produces T3 and T4 which regulates our heart rate, intestine process, and body temperature through the metabolic system. If the amount of T3 and T4 are high in the blood then cells works faster than normal. This is called hyperthyroidism. Because of too much secretion of hormones, activity of our body cells increases. For example increase in heart rate and faster process of the intestine so that we have a frequent bowel movement. If thyroid hormone production is low in blood than it is called hypothyroidism. In this way, our metabolism works slowly which results in slow heart rate and slow intestine function.

Thyroid Gland Problems

Excess of T3 and T4 hormones in blood cause Hyperthyroidism (Thyroid over active)
Low level of T3 and T4 hormones in the blood cause Hypothyroidism (Thyroid under active )

Thyroid gland symptoms and cure are discussed on this page.

Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Feeling cold
  • Tiredness
Thyroid inner view

Common types of Hyperthyroidism

  • Weight loss
  • Sore eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Heat intolerance
  • Moodiness
  • Shakiness

Thyroid disorder could be severe and could lead to threatening cancer.

How thyroid disorder is tested?

Your doctor can diagnose your thyroid disorder by knowing your activity or listening to your thyroid gland symptoms. Hormones level are tested and checked by doing blood test. By TSH measurement activeness of pituitary can be measured easily. Usually, blood test is enough commonly to find the amount of T3 and T4 being secreted. But in some cases, other tests are required.

What may cause thyroid disorder?

There may be different causes of disorder of thyroid but common cause is due to autoimmune thyroid disease, a self-destructive process in which persons own immune system attacks the thyroid cells. In reaction thyroid cells becomes over active or under active (Hypothyroidism). This disease is also known as Hashimoto’s disease. In this disease, body makes antibodies that destroy parts of thyroid glands which is the main cause of thyroid disorder.

Hypothyroidism during development can cause physical growth. In an adult, it reduces metabolic rate.

Thyroid Gland Treatment

Thyroid gland disorders may be treated commonly by medication. Daily use synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine restores hormones level. Radioactive iodine and surgery can treat hyperthyroidism by thyroid gland removal.

For under active thyroid treatment, one has to take thyroid hormones replacement for lifetime. Because once thyroid slows down no surgery, medicine or drugs can boost it.

Goiter

Goiter is an enlarged or swollen thyroid gland causing the neck to swallow. Even though it is painless but it can cause difficulty in breathing and swallow. It is mainly due to the lack of iodine in food. However, in developing countries, it is due to auto-immune disease. Usually, the treatment is not necessary but if it is causing trouble in breathing, may require surgery to remove it.

FAQ’s

Can we live without a thyroid?

Thyroid controls numerous functions in the body but still, a person can survive without thyroid with proper treatment. But he may experience numerous brain fog, constipation, depression, fatigue, and many others.

What does the adrenal gland do?

On the top of each kidney, there are two small glands called adrenal gland. It produces some hormones and cortisol. Cortisol has many important functions in our body.

What does thyroxine do?

Thyroxine is a hormone that is secreted by thyroid gland in blood stream. It plays a vital role in regulating body’s metabolism system.

How do you relieve thyroid pain ?

Usually, the doctor will advise bed rest with any anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or any steroids. If it gets prolong, doctor may advice thyroid hormone, to rest the gland.

What is Under active thyroid diet plan ?

Food containing iodine such as iodized salt, seafood, and anti-oxidant rich foods and vegetables. One should avoid gluten and gitrogen rich foods such as soy foods, peanuts, and walnuts etc.

What is parathyroid gland ?

Parathyroid gland definition is “A gland which regulates calcium and is located in the neck behind thyroid gland”. It secretes a hormone “parathormone” which is critical to calcium and phosphorus metabolism.